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August 15, 2022

Setting up public procurement central units could save worth 1.8 million euro

The establishment of some public procurement central units could annually generate savings of over 1.8 billion euro to the state budget, which represents 10 pct of all public procurement conducted each year in Romania, is the conclusion of a diagnosis-study on resources’ waste in the absence of national coordination, presented by experts of the Institute for Public Policy (IPP) during a roundtable organized on Thursday together with the Dutch Embassy.

“We are aware (…), from discussions with our partners, that the first step will be the main unit of public procurement (UCAP). (…) In our opinion, a demarche of creating capacity locally in order to popularize this mechanism of association should be started in parallel, probably at first between County Councils, in order to develop joint interest purchase procedures, by putting together resources, staff, budget, etc.,” declared Violeta Alexandru, who led the diagnosis-study, conducted by IPP.

She pointed out that the establishment of UCAP represents “a solution to streamline public expenditure”, given that at present, in the public procurement area, “for the same product category, differences (price – n.r.) are unfounded”.

According to Adrian Moraru, director of IPP, in a first phase, the research conducted for the study, might result in considering the joint purchase of products such as fuel, petrol, diesel, hardware applications, consumables (paper, toners), cars, fire extinguishers and office furniture.

The Director of the National Agency for Public Procurement, Bogdan Puscas, stressed in his turn, that within the strategy in the respective domain, the centralization and research of a perspective on public procurement centralized units represents a “hub”.

Cristina Breden, Director of the Audit of Public Procurement for the Romanian Court of Accounts, presented a series of data on audits carried out at public entities.

“In Romania there are about 15,000 public entities who are also contracting authorities. (…) The Court of Accounts (…) succeeds in auditing about 2600-2700 entities a year. Approximately 23,500 infringements were identified in 2016 in relation to these public entities, you can find this information in the annual report of the Court of Accounts (…) . The total damage is worth 400 million euro,” declared Cristina Breden.

According to her, 93 pct of offenses are at the execution stage of the contract, so after its being granted. She noted that, depending on the purchasing budgets, the public entities that fail most often can be identified and they are at town and communal level, where trained staff in the field is insufficient.

Ambassador of the Netherlands to Romania Stella Ronner-Grubacic (photo) pointed out in the speech delivered in the opening of the event that public procurement issue is a thorny problem not only in Romania. According to the ambassador, in order to achieve the targeted goals, “expertise, efficiency and transparency of how to make public purchases that have a direct impact on the economy should be combined.”

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